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Advice for a freshman in college

Need to prepare beforehand

The freshman year in college life is like a double-edged sword. There are a lot of positives that come along with the freedom that you enjoy in your first year of college as compared to your school life. Needless to say, with my freedom comes more responsibilities. The freshman year of your college life can be mind-opening when you first realize and get a first-hand experience of how to operate in the real world. You must have a well-thought-out mind with high clarity on how to approach different aspects of your college life. Reading about the experiences of previous batches, along with proper guidance from any of your seniors, can help you through this process successfully. But many times, it becomes a privilege to have such a wonderful guide with you. This necessitates a guideline or quick reference place to facilitate your movement through the freshman year. In this article, we provide structural guidance and advice regarding multiple aspects of your freshman year in college.

You must read this carefully and attempt to customize the same in your own life experiences and be successful. All the best!

Important tips for a freshman  

This section expresses those things that are to be kept in mind while you enter college for the first time. The tips and pieces of advice are classified under different sections for easy reference. You must keep in mind the fact that you must see these tips as guidelines and try to see things from your perspective in real life.

Lifestyle-related

● You must find enough support networks within the campus. Efforts have to be taken in the direction of more socialization and the creation of healthy friend circles.

● With regards to networking, it is a great way to invest yourself in extracurricular activities or involve yourself in an internship program or part-time job. This will boost your chances of meeting new people and expanding your networking opportunities.

● In the freshman year of your college, it is ideal that you test yourself in the guided environment of college rather than being completely dependent on somebody else. Standing on your own feet can be one of your short-term goals.

● Exploring new places nearby the campus can contribute positively to your personal development as well as your social development.

● When a situation demands proactive and quick decisions, you should not hesitate for one. Delayed responses and confused situation handling can result in larger problems later.

● There should be an effort in the direction of finding a perfect club society that fits your passion or hobbies. In some situations, you can join one to explore your taste. Not being part of any organization and focusing just on academic activities may not turn out great.

● You must develop a practice of health-conscious activities or exercises from the very beginning. Getting it merged with your schedule will be a great help later in your college life.

● You should keep track of your priorities and invest time accordingly. In many cases, students in their freshman year of college regret a lot of being too invested in social media or other such things.

Academic related

● Understanding that academic-related activities are one of the top priorities is a big leap in your freshman year.

● It may be difficult to have perfect attendance. But you should always aim not to miss classes unnecessarily because it may have a bad impact on your academic prospects.

● You must find some quiet place somewhere on the campus so that you can invest your own time for study purposes. For example, those classrooms or buildings which are usually uninhabited after class hours can be of great help here.

● You have to find enough time to explore opportunities and services provided by the college which can aid your academic growth. There should not be a situation where you regret not being aware of any particular facility. For example, if you require a particular edition of a book, most libraries will put any effort into getting it for you. These opportunities will be found valuable later.

● You have to make up your mind to attend classes regularly. It can contribute positively to your grades, your academic performance, and your overall personal development. Being part of class discussions and debates cannot be substituted by other things.

● Active class participation can boost your confidence and will help to get the best out of yourself in the later years of your college life. In the competitive environment within the class, I will help you in this regard.

● The selection of optional papers and additional courses has to be done in consultation with experts, professors, or guides. Taking a particular course, that synchronizes perfectly with your career goals or passion can be a real benefit later.

● There should not arise a situation where you have to be on the receiving end of a makeup exam or a supplementary exam. It may be marked separately in your scorecard and is not something to be proud of. At the same time, if it is happening because of any unavoidable circumstances, don’t get too carried away by it.

● Having a good rapport with your seniors can be a great help. The pieces of advice they provide may not be found anywhere else. This will help you to dodge common mistakes and wrongdoings.

● Maintaining academic integrity is necessary. You should not wait till your final years of college to learn and adapt to it. You should make it a practice from your first year of college not to plagiarize and copy from other sources. Being not aware of the plagiarism rules is not a great excuse. Hence, you must ensure that you are well aware of the laws and by-laws of the plagiarism policy that your campus follows.

● Having a weekly, monthly, and semester-wise academic plan for yourself will be a great idea. This can be concerning the number of books you have to cover or about the end semester evaluations.

● Systematic study plans will help you to involve yourself in extracurricular activities and your passions greatly. Nobody prefers to have the regret of not doing things on time and related trade-offs.

● Academically, you should jump out of your comfort zone. This can be by attending interesting lectures, being part of a seminar, or by attempting paper presentations for the first time.

● Unlike school life, you may not have ample time to ace all subjects perfectly. The best way out in this situation is to refer to study techniques and high return reference books. Smart work should be given recognition.

● Having personal conversations and relationships with professors can be a great boost to your academic career. Actively seeking suggestions and criticisms from them will help you to develop as a good academic writer and thinker.

Approach related

● You must keep your level of expectations realistic. Many people may find it difficult to manage things in their freshman year just because they have over expectations or are perhaps underprepared.

● Approaching freshman college life as just a continuation of your school life may not be highly rewarding. You may be exposed to a situation that you do not have to confront in previous school life. Taking each step with caution is the only possible way out. It is easy to make mistakes in your freshman year, but the cuteness with which you overcome the same matters the most.

● Always try to take an active approach in your class and communicate with the professor wherever it is necessary. You should not suffer from any situation if it can be avoided. For example, you may still have doubts in the previous section while the class is proceeding to another.

● You have to make your mindset clear with regards to the different lifestyles, food habits, and your friend circle at college. This may be drastically different from your school life, and possible cultural shock can come in. You have to be better prepared to tackle this situation.

● You must possess clarity of thought and an open mind. You may have an unexpected friendship growing, 

a new interest, or a newly discovered passion. In such situations, you are expected to adapt quickly.

● At any point, you must not underestimate and confuse actual socialization with that of social networking sites. Investing your socialization efforts just in social media can be highly deceiving and may invite regret later.

● Your mindset determines your emotional health. Preferring anything over your emotional well-being can cost you dearly. It is important to stay calm in all situations and make decisions wisely and promptly.

● Your mindset at college should facilitate the exploratory character of the freshman life of the college.

Opportunities related

● Opportunities may pop up due to diverse fields, and it is not wise to outrightly reject any of them. Seeking advice from your experts and seniors may help you to choose wisely and make better decisions.

● If you have identified a passion for yourself, it is important that you actively seek those opportunities which can polish those aspects. A well-started fashion holds the potential to change your life forever. So it is better that you start early. Postponing or declaring opportunities should not be an option.

● There may be a lot of events that will be happening around the campus. You can choose those events, talks, or workshops outside your actual comfort zone. Always keep in mind that these opportunities are limited, and you may not get a chance later in your life. Unless and until you are not exposed to it, you cannot be sure if it is your taste or not.

● Seek out academic opportunities to the best you can. You may choose optional papers outside your department and expose yourself to different academic approaches. You should not see judgments of other people as discouragements but rather take them as challenges. Those optional papers may give you an extra advantage later in your career trajectory.

● During your college life, many career-related and other opportunities come through faculties. You must strike a good relationship with them and explore their expertise and experiences in the field. In some instances, this relationship may be highly beneficial in ways like letters of recommendation.

● You should open your eyes always with the academic opportunities and the search options that the college provides. It is common that the college sponsors research projects and provides grants and funds to aid your passion. Not knowing about these things will be the last thing you prefer.

● In both cases, where you do not have an idea about the career you are pursuing, or if you have a clear idea in your mind, it is better than you are actively seeking internships. In many instances, the college itself provides those opportunities. Internships bring along learning opportunities that may be highly rewarding in your career. It will also help you to stay engaged and challenge yourself.

● If you can manage a part-time job along with your college life, it’s well and good. It is highly competitive, forcing you to actively seek those opportunities.

● You should make use of those opportunities concerning clubs and societies which do not demand an obligation to be a member. This can boost your creativity without any pressure.

● Finding more about workshops is crucial. For example, a workshop that guides you to make a perfect resume may be highly beneficial in the final years of your college.

● From a truly academic point of view, you should actively seek funding opportunities for your research project.

Networking and socialization 

● You should not hesitate to join any extracurricular activities, be it academic, health-oriented, or creative. To the least, consider it a networking and socialization opportunity.

● You should not keep yourself away from being interactive in classes and meeting highly motivated classmates of yours. Exploring the diversity within the campus is a great way to learn.

● You mustn’t overburden yourself with the socialization task in the first year of your college. Considerate a natural process but put some effort into it and do not focus on results at the beginning.

● A simple yet impactful way of socialization is through campus meals. Invest time in meeting people from diverse fields.

Miscellaneous  

● Being aware of all technical tools that may aid your education is crucial. For example, you may put to effective use cloud servicing and data storage so that you do not lose any of your important files.

● You should trust a financial planning app. This will help you to track your expenses to avoid unnecessary spending and wastage of money.

● You should be aware of all facilities available within the campus, including health services and insurance protocols. You never know when this will be handy, and it will help you to be independent.

● Being well aware of college laws and rules is necessary so that you will not land up in trouble. For example, if college necessitates the use of an ID card, you must try your best to adhere to it.

● You must take care of your health. Not engaging in any physical activity whatsoever is not advisable at all. This may have a long-term bad impact.

● Always try to follow a healthy balanced diet. These seemingly unimportant things may be decisive shortly.

● The best way out in dealing with situations in your first year of college is to have a belief that everybody you meet in college may have something to contribute to your own life. In other words, you must trust the process and understand that the process is slow.

Common mistakes to avoid in your first year

It is expected that students in the first year of their college may face unexpected troubles and may find it difficult to deal with them. These instances are unavoidable. It is difficult to completely predict all academic, financial, and personal struggles students may have to face in the first year of their college. The only practical and realistic way possible is to know well in advance what the common mistakes students face to avoid them and cruise successfully through your first year.

Academic mistakes

● Classes should not be skipped for more socialization, sleep, or extracurricular activities. In many situations, attendance comes as a crucial component of the grades. Additionally, it brings along with the trouble of lagging in the course activities, making it difficult to sustain the academic pressure towards the end of the academic year or semester.

● College life should not be seen as an academically easy walkthrough. Good academic practices of critical thinking and academic writing have to be developed in your first year. Not developing this is a big academic mistake.

● Not having a perfect academic schedule for your own is one of the biggest mistakes students commit. This may slip you into procrastination mode and disorganized lifestyle. Alongside, not finishing easy academic tasks is also a common mistake.

● One of the most common mistakes seen through to is the lack of proper connection and relationship with academic faculties.

● Not practicing how to send professional emails and direct professional communications is a mistake that you least prefer.

Financial mistakes

● Unlike in schools, as a college student, you may have to incur more expenses than just tuition fees. Considering the possible financial expenditures on buying academic materials and transportation, it is a huge mistake if you do not have a clear budget in your mind. You should practice financial literacy on your own, and any deviation from it is a grave mistake.

● Missing deadlines, in general, is a mistake that is to be avoided. In situations when colleges provide funds for academic activities or scholarships to boost your career, you should not miss such deadlines. Being up-to-date regarding college notice is the only solution in this regard.

Personal mistakes

● Being active and social media is a great way to have networking. But not having control over it or being addictive is a very common mistake among college students. You must have self-control over such time-consuming applications. For example, if you don’t understand it as a distraction during your study hours, you are committing a mistake.

● The challenges you face in the first year of college are not something that affects you alone. In this situation, having a support system for your friends and faculty is crucial. If you do not invest your time and resources to build such an ecosystem that can support you in adverse situations, you are just making a very common mistake. The basic assumption here is that most of your colleagues may be able to relate to your situation and might be able to help you.

● A balance of entertainment, social life, and academic activities is essential. If you are not successful in practicing a healthy sleep cycle, it is a mistake that can affect your overall health in the long term. The effects of lack of sleep are much grosser than you expect.

● Concerning the support system mentioned above, it is a wrong practice if you are not seeking help in your first year of college. This will help you to be informed and successful.

Key takeaways 

Setting customizes the priorities and trying to fulfill the same is the core of the first year of college life. It is important that you focus on the process and not on the results in the first phase of college life.

Having a study timetable and proper health practices is more valuable than material achievements in this initial phase.

A perfect balance needs to be struck between your academic activities and social life. This may vary according to person depending on their priorities.

While you set priorities for yourself in the first year of college, you must take into consideration all those factors, including career, personal, and financial.

Asking for help and creating a support system in your first year of college is not a sign of your weakness but that of your preparation. There should not be anything that makes you hesitant enough to pull yourself from this attempt.

All the best!

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